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Posted on Jun 25, 2015

Local man challenges community to get fit


The six-week boot camp is in South Park, adjacent to Pioneer Elementary School. Photos by Kurtis J. Wood.

On Monday, about 45 people were busy running, lunging and jumping together at South Park near Pioneer Elementary School.
The energetic group even got down to lifting and flipping massive tires.
The grassroots group has come together to encourage each other to live a healthier, more active life, said Ricardo Ruesga, the group’s organizer.
“I just want people to live an active life,” Ruesga said.
The community-minded Ruesga has started a free, six-week exercise boot camp that jumped into action on Monday. The boot camp is 7 to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday for the next five weeks at the park.
Participants on the first night were not only from the local area but from as far away as Wenatchee and Moses Lake, Ruesga said. He was excited by the turnout – and participants’ energy levels.
“They seem very motivated,” Ruesga said.
The boot camp also attracted people from a variety of fitness levels. Ruesga encourages people, regardless of how fit (or not) they are to participate because most exercises can be modified for people who are at higher or lower levels.
“I just want it to be a little wake-up call for everybody,” Ruesga said of the boot camp.
Ruesga’s own wake-up call came about two years ago. The 32-year-old has struggled with his weight much of his life, he said. But two years ago a doctor told him he was pre-diabetic.
Diabetes runs in his family, so Ruesga knows first-hand the effects the disease has, not to mention the medications and care involved. He didn’t want to use genetics as an excuse to not get into shape. Instead, he got to work, eating healthy and incorporating exercise into his life.
Today, Ruesga is nearly 50 pounds thinner.
As he slimmed down, friends kept asking what he was doing to lose weight, Ruesga said. While he isn’t a fitness instructor, Ruesga woke up one day and decided to again do something. This time for the community. He posted on Facebook that he wanted to lead a boot camp for the community, and within minutes people were joining in, Ruesga said.
Now, he’s encouraging – not to mention challenging – others to join in the fun.
A substitute teacher, Ruesga said he also sees many overweight children in the schools. A future goal is to have a two-week mini-boot camp for children, he said.
“’We just encourage people to come and work out with us,” he said.
Any businesses interested in donating water to the boot camp can drop it off at the park on boot camp days.


— By Jill FitzSimmons,

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